Revd Thomas Wipf the President of the European Council of Religious Leaders (ECRL) gave a brief background on the World Assembly and Dr Mark Owen the Secretary General of ECRL introduced the 10th World Assembly sub theme commission papers.
Joanna Owen, ECRL project coordinator led the programme as participants were divided into groups each looking at one of the following themes:
- Advancing Positive Peace
- Preventing and Transforming Conflicts
- Promoting Just and Harmonious Societies
- Working for Sustainable and Integral Human Development (SDG’S)
- Protecting the Earth
The groups focused on the specific challenges faced in Europe in relation to the theme and then proposed a project/initiative that could be taken forward.
Imogen Flatau spoke of a practical project initiated by the European Council of Religious Leaders called Religion in Action of which she is the Coordinator. This is a website platform to showcase the positive work and activities carried out by religious and inter-religious organisations and projects throughout Europe. Participants were encouraged to showcase their project by uploading information, photos and videos to encourage their networks to do the same.
The European Women of Faith Network and Interfaith Youth Network had an opportunity to meet separately and discuss further work. “The meeting was extremely useful and I was delighted to meet so many dynamic youth and women from Europe renewing past friendships and making new ones.” Project Coordinator Joanna Owen.
Leading European representatives of the major world religions have been meeting in Brussels this week to prepare for the 10th World Assembly of Religions for Peace (RfP) in Lindau, Germany. At the World Assembly, which will be opened by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, up to 1000 religious representatives from 100 countries are expected to convene with the collective concern Caring for our Common Future.
World meetings of “Religions for Peace” are held approximately every five to seven years. The tenth meeting takes place in Lindau from the 19th to the 23rd of August 2019, for the first time in Germany.
The European branch of “Religions for Peace”, the “European Council of Religious Leaders” (ECRL), includes leaders from Judaism, Christianity and Islam as well as Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and Zoroastrians. At ECRL’s preparatory meetings in Brussels, they debated the five themes that the Lindau Assembly will use to substantiate concerns about our shared future, including Protecting the Planet, the concept of Positive Peace, Transforming Conflict, Building Just and Harmonious Societies and Sustainable and Integral Human Development.
Ultimately, it is about “taking care of questions from our religious roots, asking what could be our contribution to solving the urgent problems in the world,” said the President of the ECRL, the Swiss Protestant theologian Revd Dr Thomas Wipf.
“For example, religions could contribute to positive peace in the fields of reconciliation and healing”, ECRL Secretary General Dr Mark Owen.
The meeting was opened by Christoph Heider, Head of Unit at the Representation of the State of Hessen to the European Union, where the meeting was hosted alongside also the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (Protestant Church in Germany – EKD) . Towards the end of their meeting in Brussels, the ECRL invited representatives of key partners in the City to share their progress and priorities in the area of inter-religious cooperation and to explore possibilities for closer working. Guests included Mr Vincent Depaigne (European Commission Coordinator for the dialogue between the European Commission and churches, religious associations or communities, philosophical and non-confessional organisations), Ms Aikaterini Pekridou from the Conference of European Churches and Fr Olivier Poquillon OP, General Secretary of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the EU (COMECE).
The ECRL’s meeting in Brussels of its members followed a meeting of RfP Women and Youth in Warsaw held in May 2019. Also convened by ECRL, the Warsaw meeting provided a forum for European RfP Women and Youth to debate the same five themes and contribute to the worldwide process of consultation. You can learn about their successful meeting here.